As brands open their order books for the autumn 17 season, independent fashion retailers are feeling nervous about expected price rises following the devaluation of sterling.
The pound has lost 20% of its value since the European Union referendum in June. Some brands have increased their prices to counter the rising costs, sources have told Drapers, although it is not clear how many and which ones.
Independents said the increases have yet to filter through, but they fear it will not be long before they do.
Ravi Grewal, co-owner of menswear independent Stuarts London, said: “I haven’t seen enough of the collections as yet to get a real idea. I’m pretty sure some prices will go up, which we will struggle to take – our customers won’t want to buy at higher prices if their pockets are also being squeezed.”
Jeremy Clayton, co-owner of Suffolk-based men’s and women’s wear independent Javelin, said: “We are just starting autumn 17 buying and finishing pre-season buying. We haven’t seen any increases as yet, [but] I expect there will be some for the main autumn 17 season.
“We’re still in a very price-sensitive market, so price increases will definitely make us more cautious. If the government can instil a bit of confidence in the economy, then I think the currency will sort itself out, but we’re not seeing that as yet.”
Hilary Cookson, owner of Maureen Cookson in Whalley, Lancashire, was due to begin her first autumn 17 buying trips this week with Danish brand B.Young.
“We will see what is happening then,” she said. “So far, we have been happy with the prices and consistency of repeats costs – plus have early spring deliveries arriving – all at the original prices with no increases levied.”
Debra McCann, owner of The Mercantile in Spitalfields, east London, said: “I was in Paris directly after the Brexit vote and a few new labels didn’t want to give confirmed prices as they didn’t know what was going to happen. There is definitely uncertainty around.
“It will mean I am a little more prudent with those brands with higher prices in comparison with European prices, particularly where they do not reflect good value for money. I expect we might see prices increase more for spring 18.”